Seniors, Elder, Cohousing, Loneliness, Lonely, Intentional Community
Lonelinessand Cohousing or Intentional Communities
The increasing loneliness in her life was described by one senior as beginning to feel like her life was as cold as the moon.
Regardless of the fullnessof our life as a young or middle-aged adult, there seemsto be more loneliness involved as we age.
Work:Many people, men and women, but particularly men, have their social network tiedup in work. If they see people outside of work, numerous people play a game ofgolf or watch football with friends from work. At retirement, that networkstarts to dry up.
Family:As we age, so does our family. Siblings die or become disabled. Children, theneven grandchildren, grow up, move away, or become involved in their own livesand children. We long to see them, but don’t want to feel like we are a burdento them, so often don’t even call them…..
Friends:Our friends age, too. They retire and leave for other places, become disabled orfrail, and even die. It is hard to replace a social network of friends and evenharder to replace a "best friend."
Spouses:Often the most lonely happening in our lives is to lose our spouse. Many havetheir spouse as their only close confidant.
Driving:A real blow to independence is losing the automobile. It probably starts withcurtailment of night driving, then long auto trips, but the end result for manyseniors is giving up the automobile altogether. We live in a society of cars inmost suburban and many urban areas so those of us who do not drive one are immediately set apart.
All of these don’t happen at onetime–it is a gradual process. The net effect, though, is increasingisolation for seniors.
Any intentional community orcohousing community can halt isolation and, thus, a lot of the loneliness forseniors.
Why is this?
People generally suffer from two forms of loneliness:
People who describe social loneliness refer to feelings of boredom, restlessness, and feeling left out.
Social loneliness stems from an absence of a social network. Cohousing will probably solve socialloneliness for almost everyone.
People who describe emotional loneliness speak of feelings of anxiety and emptiness.
Even a very socially active person can suffer from this type of loneliness when his/her social network is comprised of superficial acquaintances. Even a marriage which is not embedded in a close relationship is often described as lonely.
One close confidant can cure emotional loneliness for many people. However, that close relationship is much harder to build than a social network.Cohousing gives you an opportunity to make a few really close friends.
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